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Australia, New Zealand Join Forces for Marine Observation

Interest in the Tasman Sea, Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean New Zealand and Australia agreed to collaborate on marine observations, research and data management for the first time, although they are friendly neighbors.The agreement recognizes that both countries have a shared interest in the Tasman Sea, Pacific Ocean and the Southern Ocean.Signed at Parliament House in Canberra this morning by Senator Kim Carr, Minister of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, and the New Zealand High Commissioner, Major General Martyn Dunne, the pact is the culmination of months of talks.At the same time the formal agreement is being signed in Canberra, a joint Australia-New Zealand marine observation symposium is being held in Hobart, Tasmania to develop collaborative research opportunities for inclusion in a future bilateral work programme.Speaking from Hobart, Tim Moltmann, director of the Australian government Integrated Marine Observing System, said the agreement to cooperate more on marine research and observation would have huge benefits for both countries."Australia is now taking a much more national, collaborative approach to marine observing and data management," said Moltmann. "This is paying big dividends for marine and climate science in our own country and it just makes good sense to reach out to our ...

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India, Australia pitch for freedom of navigation in maritime areas

India and Australia to hold naval exercise and regional security issues Against the backdrop of China's objections to any activity in South China Sea, India and Australia Wednesday pitched for freedom of navigation in maritime areas.India and Australia discussed the prospects of holding a bilateral naval exercise, regional security issues and piracy at a meeting between Defence Minister AK Antony and his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith."Both sides agreed that challenges in the area of maritime security like piracy and freedom of navigation are important issues which required concerted efforts of the global community," Defence Ministry said in release.However, the Defence Ministry, in its release, didn't mention any specific maritime area.In the recent past, China had objected to any activity in South China Sea including Indian oil exploration activities there.In the discussions, Antony stressed India was looking forward to develop exchanges with Australia at both bilateral level and in multi-lateral fora such as the ASEAN Defence Minister's Meeting Plus.The Defence Ministry had recently made it clear that it was not keen on hopping on to any multilateral security constructs in the region excepting those under the UN flag or ADMM plus rejecting the suggestions of a trilateral security arrangement between India, ...

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Australia to establish International Shipping Register

Designed to restore Australia's place in world shipping The Australian federal government is proposing a series of reforms - including tax breaks for ship operators and an Australian international shipping register - designed to restore Australia's place in world shipping.The measures being introduced come at a time when the number of Australian-flag ships has fallen from 30 to 22 this year, and from 55 in 1995. The remaining vessels now carry just 0.5 percent of the country's export trade, 99 percent of which is carried by ships,Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the industry is "at the tipping point. If we do not act now the Australian shipping industry will be lost forever".The government said its moves to regenerate the industry would help to stem the downward spiral of an ageing fleet and a declining workforce. The 22 ships that still service Australian ports have an average age of 20 years, almost eight years older then the world average, while employers report that 49 percent of their seafarer workforce is aged 45 years or older.Albanese said the tax package was designed to take advantage of the opportunities for Australia to be a major force in global shipping. The ...

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Serious crew member injury on board

On board a passenger ship in Melbourne The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued the report of its investigation into a serious crew member injury on board a passenger/ro-ro ship in Melbourne on 17 September 2011.A rating moved two catwalk gratings in the engineroom in preparation for relocating a large fan.The electrical engineer told him to place a safety barrier around the opening.The electrical engineer then attempted to push one of the gratings back into place, but fell through the opening, incurring serious injury.Click here to view the reportSource: ATSB

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Australia’s role in International Shipping recognized by the IMO

Australia has been re-elected on IMO Council Australia has been re-elected to second place on the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) reflecting our role as a key voice in international shipping.The result formally recognises Australia's commitment to the IMO and its important work in international maritime safety, security and pollution prevention. Australia was elected equal second from our previous position of 18 at the IMO's 27th Assembly in London which meets every two years.The Gillard Government's recently announced shipping reforms, Australia's strong record on maritime safety, environmental protection of the sea and the role played by AMSA were key factors in this outstanding result.We play a significant role on the Council, representing the fourth largest shipping task in the world, with most of these vessels transiting close to significant natural marine and coastal habitats.I take this opportunity to commend Australia's maritime agencies and industry for their willingness and cooperative approach to meeting Australia's international obligations.It is also worth mentioning the efforts of John Dauth, Australian High Commissioner to the UK, who was appointed last year by the Government as Australia's first Permanent Representative to the IMO. Australia is one of few countries to have served for over 40 ...

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Australia’s first recorded major oil spill

The Petriana - occurred on Saturday, 28 November, 1903 Australia's first recorded major oil spill occurred on Saturday, 28 November, 1903. The Petriana (1821 gross tonnage) was a screw steamer powered by both steam and sail owned by the Asiatic Petroleum Company and was operating on behalf of the Shell Transport and Trading Company.The Petriana was bound for Melbourne, Victoria, from Borneo laden with 1300 tons of bulk oil as well as an unrecorded quantity of naptha and benzene. A pilot boarded the vessel at 6am and proceeded towards the notorious Rip at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay.The fog was thick and the shoreline was obscured but the pilot hoped the fog would clear by the time the leading lights could be seen. Unfortunately the fog did not clear and the Petriana went aground on Portsea Back Beach at 7am. Within moments the engine room and stokehold were flooded leaving the vessel without power.Attempts made to refloat the Petriana throughout the day using the steam tug James Patterson were unsuccessful. The following day, the salvage schooner Enterprise and the tug Eagle were called to assist. It was hoped that the powerful pumps on the Enterprise could remove some of ...

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Australia plans world s biggest marine protection zone

To safeguard a huge swathe of the Coral Sea Australia plans to establish the world's biggest marine protection zone to safeguard a huge swathe of the Coral Sea, a biodiversity hotspot brimming with life, the government said Friday.The proposed Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve off the northeast of Australia would cover about 990,000 square kilometres (380,000 square miles) -- an area more than one-a-half times the size of France."Australia's vast oceans provide a source of food and resources and are a place of recreation. But we cannot afford to be complacent," Environment Minister Tony Burke said.Under the plan, which the Australian government says will be the biggest marine protection area in the world, oil and gas exploration would be banned and new limits imposed on fishing.The environmental significance of the Coral Sea within Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone lay in its diverse array of coral reefs, sandy cays and deep-sea plains and canyons, Burke said."There is no other part of Australia's territory where so much comes together -- pristine oceans, magnificent coral, a military history which has helped define us and now a clear proposal for permanent protection," he said.A recent study found that the Coral Sea, which stretches from the ...

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Support for ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention

MLC updates 67 existing ILO Conventions - employment, hours of work, food and catering, medical care The Australian Shipowners Association (ASA) welcomes the ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) that will provide protection of working conditions for crews working anywhere in the world.The MLC consolidates and updates 67 existing ILO Conventions and recommendations on maritime issues covering issues such as conditions of employment, hours of work, food and catering, medical care and accommodation at sea."This important convention has the ability to provide basic living and working conditions and will assist in providing a safe working environment for all seafarers and a level playing field for all shipowners" said ASA's Executive Director, Ms Teresa Hatch.ASA has been working both at the International Labour Organisation and with the Australian Government and the unions to progress the ratification by Australia of this convention and its implementation domestically. The passing by the Senate of amendments to the Navigation Act 1912 ensuring that Australian legislation complies with the MLC represents the last significant step before official ratification."ASA has been pleased with the pragmatic approach adopted by the Australian Government to the ratification of this international convention and its implementation into Australian domestic law." said ...

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Australia lifts oil spill fines to $11 million

Maximum fines for ships that spill oil from $1 million to $11 million Australia has increased maximum fines for ships that spill oil from $1 million to $11 million (US $11 million) in response to a Chinese coal carrier grounding on the Great Barrier Reef.Parliament passed new laws late Monday for the discharge of oil or oil residue by ships in Australian waters. Shipping companies will also have to contribute to cleanup costs.The change follows last year's grounding on the world's largest chain of coral reefs by the Shen Neng 1, which spilled nearly 3 tons of fuel oil. The ship's officers were fined about $50,000.Source: AP

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ATSB issues report re deck cargo lost due to inadequate stowage instructions

Insufficient guidance about how the deck cargo was to be stowed or secured The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued the report of its investigation into the loos of cargo from a multi-purpose/general cargo ship off Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, on 4 October 2010.On that date, 604 packs of timber veneer were lost overboard during rough seas.The investigation found that the cargo stowage and securing instructions that had been emailed to the ship did not provide the crew with sufficient guidance about how the deck cargo was to be stowed or secured.You can view the report, by clicking here.Source: ATSB

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